18 Nov 2009 10:39:00.000
A charity with close links to The University of Nottingham is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a symposium at the Royal Society in London.
FRAME – Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments – carries out pioneering work aimed at reducing and eventually replacing the use of animals in scientific research. FRAME has had its own laboratory in the University’s Medical School for more than 25 years, making it unique amongst animal welfare charities..
Speakers from the US Food and Drug Administration, the Universities of Oxford, Manchester, Liverpool, Imperial and Nottingham will gather at the Royal Society on November 19th for a symposium marking an important milestone in the charity’s history. Entitled ‘Drug Discovery and Development in the 21st Century’, the event will help to identify the role of advanced alternatives to animal testing in the development of new drugs.
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Professor Dave Kendall, of the University’s School of Biomedical Sciences, is a Trustee of FRAME and will be chairing a session at the symposium. He said: “Over the past few decades, there have been dramatic advances in the application of the molecular sciences to biology and medicine.
“One consequence of this is that post-genomic methodologies, cell culture systems, tissue engineering, biophysical techniques and computer-based procedures are increasingly being applied within the sphere of drug discovery and development.
“Animal models have traditionally been used to select the most suitable drug candidates for human studies. However, the relevance of paradigms based on animal pharmacotoxicology and animal disease models is now constantly being questioned, not least because of the emergence of gene-, cell- and human-specific protein therapeutics and medical nanotechnologies.
“These developments have highlighted the sometimes subtle, but often crucial, differences between human and animal responses to pharmacological intervention, and make the requirement for drug testing based on human systems an increasing necessity.”
The symposium at the Royal Society is sponsored by FRAME and the Home Office, with the support of GlaxoSmithKline.
FRAME was founded and registered as a UK charity in 1969. In 1983 FRAME was asked to act as advisor to the government and the following year it received its first ever government grant to research replacement methods.
The FRAME Alternatives Laboratory, directed by Dr Andrew Bennett and situated within the University of Nottingham’s School of Biomedical Sciences, is run as a collaboration – staffed by the University and funded by FRAME with additional income from Research Councils and other medical charities. .
FRAME advocates the ‘three Rs’ model to combat current levels of animal use in laboratories – Refine, Reduce and Replace. Refinement of procedures so that the suffering of any animals necessarily used is minimised, reduction of the number of animals used to an unavoidable minimum, and ultimately replacement of animals altogether with validated alternative methods such as cell cultures and computer modelling.
Its long term aim is the complete replacement of animals in all medical testing but it recognises that goal cannot be achieved immediately. Meanwhile it supports efforts to reduce the numbers of animals involved and to refine testing methods so that suffering is minimised.
For more information on FRAME and its work see www.frame.org.uk
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings.
More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to RAE 2008, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranks the University 7th in the UK by research power. In 27 subject areas, the University features in the UK Top Ten, with 14 of those in the Top Five.
The University provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's "only truly global university", it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation – School of Pharmacy), and was named ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.
Nottingham was designated as a Science City in 2005 in recognition of its rich scientific heritage, industrial base and role as a leading research centre. Nottingham has since embarked on a wide range of business, property, knowledge transfer and educational initiatives (www.science-city.co.uk) in order to build on its growing reputation as an international centre of scientific excellence. The University of Nottingham is a partner in Nottingham: the Science City.